Thursday, October 13, 2016

Colombia's Coffee Region: Salento

Colombia!


After a week in Bogota I was joined by Debora (her photo above) for a few days in Colombia's famous coffee region and it was gorgeous. We could have easily stayed at our rural guest house (or finca) for a week or more just basking in the glory of the land. The above photo is sunrise as seen from the hillside of the guest house property.

Here's the charming compound in which we spent three nights with excellent food and much peaceful birdsong:

Coffee

The landscape near Salento, Colombia is spectacular -- green and verdant with cloud forest and streams and these amazing wax palms, a natural symbol of Colombia. This is also coffee country. Colombia is one of the top international producers (by volume) of coffee along with Brazil, Vietnam and Indonesia. I only began drinking coffee a few months ago after touring a coffee farm in Costa Rica, so the tour we took outside of Salento was very informative for me. And please excuse my horrible paragraph structure here. When I put photos on the right side or the left side of the text like this I can't figure out how to make line breaks inside this text region without shifting the entire photo down along with it. But anyways.. back to coffee. I learned that coffee grown at a higher altitude tends to be a bit more acidic than that grown at lower altitudes. I also learned that the longer coffee is roasted (i.e. dark roast vs. light roast) the less caffeine it contains. So lightly roasted coffee has more caffeine than dark roast, but the longer roasting tends to give it a stronger flavor.

Hiking

We went on a beautiful 5-hour hike in Valle de Cocora which is famous for these wax palm trees that can grow up to 200' high. The cloud forest yielded some haunting photos like this one...

and this one...

We took many photos..

And enjoyed the local wildlife..

Tejo

Another fun activity in the region is the Colombian national pastime called Tejo. Tejo is a game kind of like cornhole or bocce ball, but instead of tossing a round ball at another round ball, you throw a metal stone-like weight toward pockets filled with gunpowder. Yes!! 

Your game of cornhole with those bean bags? 
Ha! 
Bean bags are for children.

And, of course, there is also beer.

 Debora demonstrates fine form while scoring a macha..

Macha is the term when your metal stone scores a direct hit on one of the three small packets of gunpowder, causing it to explode with great noise and erupt in flames. It's awesome.

Debora scored 4 machas to my 1 (I was robbed on so many occasions I can't even begin to tell you), but I came out on top on the scoreboard due to my consistently keen eye and accurate throws. Games are played up to 27 points, and we played best 2 out of 3. I dramatically scored my only macha on the contest-winning final toss of the second game. Fun times

Citizens of The United States! 
Put away your cute bean bags and cornhole game and get with gunpowder! What could be more American than that? #votetrump2016







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